What should my marketing strategy include?

What should my marketing strategy include?

Before you start your marketing strategy, it’s a good idea to review the past year.  Take stock of what you have done. What marketing campaigns worked well? Have you seen an increase in enquires? If enquiries have increased, have sales increased? What is your website traffic like?  Have you developed any useful strategic alliances with other likeminded businesses?

It is sometimes useful to get other staff members’ views on this.  While ideally you should have been tracking activity throughout the year, it’s possible they may remember something that you have forgotten or have a different viewpoint that could be invaluable.

All of this will be useful information for planning your year ahead, so here’s what you need to think about:

Product Range

Take a look at your existing product or service range. Which ones are performing well?  Why are they performing well? How about the ones that are performing less well; why are they performing less well? Which products or services are your most profitable? Is there something that makes them more profitable that can be replicated into your other existing products or services?

Do some future gazing.  What are your customers going to need over the coming 12 months?  Is your current product/service offering able to meet those needs or do you need to develop new products or services to prevent customers looking elsewhere? 

Target Market

You cannot be all things to all people.  While it would be nice to be able to sell to everyone, if your target audience is too wide, your marketing strategy will be difficult to target effectively. The most successful campaigns know exactly who they are targeting so be specific.  What problems do your services solve? Who is affected by those issues? What job roles deal with these issues directly? Where do they go for support? What do people in these job roles typically look like (age, gender, experience level etc)? What communication channels will be most effective for reaching them?

Thinking through your target markets allows you to identify the marketing tactics that are likely to be most effective in that market and tailor your communications effectively. It doesn’t mean that you can’t sell to anyone outside of that target audience, simply proactive activity is focused on other areas

SWOT/Competitor Analysis

Take a look at your business and review what your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are.  Be honest with yourself when doing this – it will be much more effective and help with preparing for the year ahead and beyond.  Don’t forget to look at what your competition is doing    Are there any aspects of this that you can control?  What is the likely impact on your business of the aspects that you can’t control? Is there anything you can do to prepare for this (you could tie this in to your review of your product range)

Positioning Statement

Many businesses struggled for years to truly narrow down a USP, especially in highly competitive markets.  A better way to think about it may be to ask “what does my business do better than anyone else?” and/or “what do our customers love/hate about our competitors?”  By understanding this you will be able to understand where to position your products and services and address any barriers head on.

Values

This is key for a lot of businesses and rightly so.  Where customers can buy the same or similar services from a range of providers, the cultural fit of an organisation can make the difference between winning that business and missing out altogether. Think carefully about what customers get from you that they do not get anywhere else. What are you offering above and beyond your product or service that will make them part with their hard-earned cash? Do you operate in a certain way? Do you share similar corporate aims? What issues – beyond the day-to-day commercials – are important to you (e.g. the environment, skills development, local community etc)? Is this effectively communicated in your marketing activity?

Goals

Make sure you set measurable goals that tie with your overall business plan to ensure you remain on track (or that will flag potential problems at an early stage).

Budget and Planning

How much will it cost to put your marketing plan into action? Constantly test and measure which marketing tactics are achieving their objectives and which are not, so you can adapt as necessary.

Marketing is one of those aspects of business where there is always more that could be done.  The key is to focus on your main business objectives and choose your marketing tactics wisely.

  • What will deliver the best return on investment?
  • Which activities can be implemented quickly and which ones take a little bit more time?
  • What is the best mix of marketing activities for your business?
  • Do you need a contingency budget for those unmissable opportunities that crop up during the year?
  • How will you measure your return on investment?

Think about what you plan to spend each month.  Look at the activities that you want to do, whether that is advertising, events, buying promotional items or attending an exhibition, and see if they fit your budget.  Are there any pinch points in terms of expenditure and/or delivery time? How can these be mitigated (e.g. instalment payments to spread costs, outsourcing delivery of key elements to boost capacity, etc.)?

The key to success is to make sure that you are specific, understand your market/s, set clear objectives and regularly review, track and follow up.

At Encore Communications, we assist many businesses that find it difficult to formalise a marketing strategy.  Sometimes businesses have some rough ideas but find it hard to get these down on paper.  Others struggle to know even where to start.  Some just need a fresh pair of eyes on a current strategy to give it a little boost.  Whichever camp you are in, we can help so why not give us a call on 07740 872852 and we can have a chat.

http://www.encore-communications.co.uk/

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